Athleta Field Report: Testing Our Temperature-Regulating Gear on a Rugged Oregon Coast Hike

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Athleta Field Report puts our technology and innovations to the test in the real world. Pro snowboarder Caley Vanular reviews Athleta cold-weather performance gear on an epic Oregon coast hike.

The Oregon coast is an enchanted area of the Pacific Northwest. Think old-growth forests, rugged beaches and idyllic coastal towns. There are so many amazing things to do on the coast, from hiking Thor’s Well (the “Goonies Trail” in Astoria) to surfing and camping in the stunning state parks. My only gripe about the coast is the unpredictable weather. One moment it’s sunny and warm and the next it’s cold and boxed in by a marine layer.

For this adventure, I was asked to test out a lightweight performance jacket, a merino base layer turtleneck and some cold-weather training tights from the Athleta fall line for an all-day hike along the incredible trails of Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park and Ecola State Park. The challenge was to see if the clothing could stand up to the temperamental weather conditions.

Stretch Insul8 Jacket: Lightweight & Water Repellent

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The morning started with a chance of rain and a thick fog that hovered above the beach…definitely jacket weather. I threw on the Stretch Insul8 Jacket with a Cashmere Cable Beanie over a merino base layer sweater—and by the time I got to the beach, I was glad I did. The temperature dipped as the winds picked up, but the wind-resistant and water-repellent panels managed to keep the mist and chill off throughout the morning.

This jacket is quilted with lightweight synthetic insulation, which was great for trapping in body heat—but it’s not bulky like most puffy jackets. The tech-stretch fabric and mobility panels under the arms make this a jacket I could really move around in as I navigated driftwood and steep hill climbs of the coast.

“The temperature dipped as the winds picked up, but the wind-resistant and water-repellent panels managed to keep the mist and chill off throughout the morning.”

Remarkawool Turtleneck: A Performance Base Layer That Regulates Your Body Temp

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When most people think of activewear, a merino wool turtleneck isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Wool turtlenecks can be itchy and constrictive, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Remarkawool Turtleneck. It was perfect as the day warmed up, because I could open my jacket and feel comfortable in my base layer. As I hiked away from the beach into the thick of the woods, I felt warm but not stuffy.

What I love about merino wool is that it’s a naturally temperature regulating and sweat-wicking material. I always wear it as a next-to-skin base layer when I go on long hikes, camping or snowboarding in the backcountry. The best thing about this layer in particular is that it is machine washable, making it super low maintenance and easy to travel with.

“What I love about merino wool is that it’s a naturally temperature regulating and sweat-wicking material.”

Ski Line Polartec 2 Tight: Epic Insulation with a Super Cozy Fleece Lining

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When I head to the beach for surfing or hiking, I never know what pants to wear. Basic yoga tights are a nightmare to get on after being in the cold water and collect sand as you struggle to get them on. Jeans are the opposite, cold when wet and have no stretch for the after-wetsuit struggle. Basic hiking pants can be a little too lightweight for cold weather. Today, I was happy to find that the Ski Line Polartec 2 Tight worked out really well. It has this ridiculously-cozy brushed inner lining that also wicks away sweat. The abrasion-resistant sleek outer of the tights are perfect for hanging out on the sand, climbing over rocks and hiking back to the parking lot through the forest.

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“It has this ridiculously-cozy brushed inner lining.”

When I’m on a long hike, the last thing I want to worry about is what I’m wearing. Just one uncomfortable spot or pressure point can change your entire day…for the worse. When you’ve finally reached the top of that long hike, you just want to enjoy the view that you’ve earned and not worry about being comfortable. The right gear can help you do just that.

Read more Athleta Field Report stories here

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1 Comment

November 19, 2015 at 6:24 am

I grew up there! Hiked that trail sooo many times!! Great blog…

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